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Leaving 2.5 yo nursling for 4 days

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I nursed my DS for 3.5 years and am currently nursing my DD who is 2.5. I nursed all through my pregnancy and tandem nursed for several months. That means I'm going on close to 6 years of non-stop nursing.  


I was recently presented with the opportunity to travel out-of-state with my sister for four days. I've never been without my children for more than 6 hours at a time. And even though the idea of being gone for four days is giving me anxiety and making me feel guilty I really want to go.  I've been feeling burnt out and not myself and DH is really encouraging me to take this trip for myself.


The trouble is I'll be leaving my 2.5 yo DD who is still nursing. She'll go to sleep without nursing if DH is the one who puts her down, and she's a really good eater.  One half of my brain knows she's going to totally be okay, but the other half is worried it might be too soon.


If this separation leads her to wean I think I'd be okay with it. If I come home and the first thing I do when I walk in the door is nurse her, I'm okay with that too.  I'm open to whatever outcome this brings.


I worry about the stress it might cause the both of us. My milk production is low but I wonder if my breasts will get engorged after not nursing for four days or will my milk dry up completely?  Will I go through emotional withdrawal? Am I going to cry this entire vacation? Will she cry the entire time I'm gone and think I've abandoned her?  Am I short changing her by possibly forcing her to wean at 2.5 when her brother got a whole extra year of nursing?


Everyone around me is very encouraging and supportive saying "Go! She'll be fine! You'll be fine!"  which is a really nice thing to say, but I don't know if they fully understand what it means for me to leave my nursling. I'm not having any more babies so this might be the end of the nursing chapter of my life. The idea makes me cry. But I also really, really want to take this trip.


Oh mamas, I feel like a mess! Any advice or insight would be appreciated.


Thanks in advance for your comments.

post #2 of 15

Subbing because we're in a somewhat similar situation - I will be leaving my then 26 month old for 3 nights. I'm vacillating between weaning before I go though because I really think I'll be too worried about her if I think she's missing nursing. Subbing to hear more thoughts. 



post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

Subbing because we're in a somewhat similar situation - I will be leaving my then 26 month old for 3 nights. I'm vacillating between weaning before I go though because I really think I'll be too worried about her if I think she's missing nursing. Subbing to hear more thoughts. 




I've had that thought, too. I don't know if it would be better to wean her before I go or just go cold turkey. I think part of my hesitation is that I'm not certain I want to wean completely, but is it unreasonable to think we could take a 4 day break and pick back up?  Perhaps it would be kinder to wean, even partially, before the trip. I imagine it might be healthier for the breasts, too.

post #4 of 15

My 2.5 yo just weaned herself 4 days ago, no problems here - no engorgement or leaking or anything. Same when kid #1 weaned at the same age.


Perhaps you could try cutting down a bit before you go - to two or even one nursing per day.


I'll soon be leaving for a conference, and had the exact same dilemma before I knew she'd decide to wean on her own.


Good luck and enjoy your holiday!

post #5 of 15
I'd cut back a bit but not wean. I've heard of toddlers going a week and then resuming without a problem. The unfortunate thing is that every child is different and there is simply no way to tell what your kiddo would do. I think cutting down to one or two sessions a day would make weaning easier if that's the route kiddo would take but there's still enough nursing routine to encourage resuming when you return. At any rate, I'd talk about it a few times before you leave and maybe have daddy remind her if she's sad that you're coming home soon and she can have nursies again. I think that would be my approach.
post #6 of 15

if you are nursing her on demand, she will not wean after 4 days without nursing.


if she is already weaning for other reasons and nurses 1/week, then she might wean after your trip.


but if she still nurses every day, she will still nurse another year, I am sure!

post #7 of 15

You could possibly drink a bit of sage tea while gone to help prevent engorgement because it dries you up.  Once you return you could then take lactation support herbs to bring your production back up.  I doubt she will wean in those 4 days.

post #8 of 15

I realize your post is from a while ago and I don't know when your planned travel was, but since I recently left my 2-year-old nursling for 5 days, I thought I'd chime in.  My 2-year-old did fine.  If yours is with her dad or someone she has a good attachment to she's not likely to miss nursing any more than she would miss you if she were weaned.


My DS nurses 2 or 3 times a day, usually for as long as I let him (10 minutes or so), but sometimes he only gets a let down at the first waking nursing and not at the naptime and bedtime nursing, when he tends to be more distracted and latching on and off.  I also have a baby - 3 months old when I traveled.  I figured my toddler is getting such a small portion of my milk that I wouldn't need to pump.  I should have packed my pump.  I hand expressed 2x a day while we were gone, and still felt full and my 3-month-old had green poops all week.  So just be aware that your toddler may be drinking more than you realize, and you may need to express.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi Everyone, 


I appreciate everyone's responses and thought I would come back and give an update on my experience. 


I ended up taking my trip (5 days total with travel time) and things went great. I had a fun and relaxing time with my sister and took advantage of having a bed all to myself for a few days.


DH kept my children busy and reported that DD never asked to nurse while I was away. He said both kids  asked about me a few times but never seemed stressed or upset.


My breasts got very full during my time away. It was uncomfortable and I longed for a little mouth to relieve them. I didn't express any milk and after the first 3 days they seemed to level off. 


When I got home DD didn't ask to nurse at all and I was secretly hoping that meant she was done. But then I changed my shirt and she saw my breasts and got very excited. I tried (half-heartedly) to tell her 'no' but the sweet look on her face made me realize she still needed it so I nursed her.  We're now nursing 2-3 times a day, at wake-up, nap-time, and usually once for tension/owies/reconnecting.  She will go to sleep with DH now and doesn't ask to nurse at night so that's a big victory.  


I don't have any plans to go anywhere again for a long time but it is comforting knowing that if I do need to go away everyone will be okay without me.  Knowing this feels like a huge milestone in my journey of motherhood.

post #10 of 15

Thanks for the update.  It's good to hear that things went well :)

post #11 of 15
Oh awesome! Glad to hear it went well!

I will be gone for 5 days in August and my son is only 18months old right now (so he'll be 21 months when I go).

It had been awful making the decision to go, but now I'm committed! So reading success stories like yours is heartening.

My son is an avid nurser, though he is just starting to sleep all night without nursing. My heart tells me we'll pick up with nursing when I get back.

I think I'm going to bring pump though, thanks to your advice.
post #12 of 15



That's awesome!!! Happy to hear all is well and you were able to return rejuvenated! Thanks for sharing your update. biggrinbounce.gif

post #13 of 15
Just came here to post my situation and found this thread instead. Similar situation here, almost identical to Tanyato but a day and a half shorter. I nurse dd on demand and she's 18 months now. Leaving in July for 3 1/2 days. She doesn't take a bottle, never has. I know she'll be fine nutritionally, I just worry about her quitting in that time. I should add that I tandem nurse my almost 4 year old. He nurses once a day, first thing in the morning, and I will be surprised if he doesn't ask for it when I get back so...I'm guessing she would see him nurse and want in? But I'm glad to know I'm not the only one here with the fear of sudden weaning. My friends who haven't nursed in awhile don't really get it and don't understand why I'm apprehensive about leaving, but I know how much by littlest depends on me for comfort and nursing and its really hard to be away.
post #14 of 15
Jessafina - everyone I've asked has said that if they're still nursing on demand the chances of them quitting after just a few days is soooooo unlikely.

At first I was thinking I should try and cut back how much he nurses during the day in an effort to make my absence easier....but then I realized that wasn't necessary. He spends a few hours here and there with his dad or grandma (the caregivers with whom he'll be with while I'm gone) and he never asks to nurse from them because he associates only me with nursing.

I honestly feel that at his youngish age, and the fact that he's such an avid nurser still he'll see me when I get back and immediately associate nursing with me again. And if he's playing stranger with me, I'll just flash him hah! :P
post #15 of 15
Hahaha! Yes, flashing always works. I can't change my shirt with out kids catching a glimpse and wanting in on the boobs smile.gif or DH for that matter, but that's another story orngtongue.gif
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